Ohio agency doubling full-time firefighter-paramedics through SAFER grant
The $1 million grant will enable the agency to increase from six to 12 full-time firefighter-medics and rely less on volunteers
Journal-News, Hamilton, Ohio
CITY OF FRANKLIN, Ohio — Later this month, Franklin will be doubling the size of its paramedic/firefighters thanks to a federal SAFER grant.
Franklin City Council approved a change in its annual personnel ordinance to add the new full-time positions that will use a $1 million SAFER grant to cover their salaries and benefits for three years.
City Manager Sonny Lewis said the Fire & EMS Department was working on getting the new personnel through the hiring process that includes background checks, firefighter assessments, and physical exams, before the start of the grant period that starts on March 11.
“We made six offers and received six acceptances,” Lewis said. “We have some really good people and we’re excited with who were getting. I believe they will be with the city for a long time.”
Franklin’s fire department began full-time EMS services in 2013 after city voters approved a 3.5-mill property tax levy that generates $733,000 a year in 2012.
Prior to 2013, the Joint Emergency Medical Services District, provided ambulance services for Franklin, Franklin Twp. and Carlisle since 1982.
When the SAFER grant goes into effect, there will be a total of 12 full-time firefighter/paramedics serving the city. Lewis said the city will not need to rely so much on volunteer firefighters being on duty to cover shifts. He said there are 28 volunteer firefighters on the roster as of Monday.
“This will ease (fire Chief) Jonathan’s (Westendorf) fears and we have a plan on continuing the funding the firefighters after the grant ends,” Lewis said.
He said the city will put aside funds over the next three years to cover the costs and said the levy will need to be renewed in 2012.
“This is a great program for small cities,” Lewis said.
©2020 the Journal-News (Hamilton, Ohio)